How banks are helping those impacted by Covid-19 | moneyfacts.co.uk

Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 06/04/2020

With the Coronavirus pandemic having a severe impact on many consumers’ finances, the Government, along with finance regulators, has been urging banks and building societies to help their customers in financial difficulties due to the pandemic. Some proposals put forward by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), for example, include interest-free overdrafts for three months, as well as repayment holidays on credit cards and loans. A decision on these proposals are expected to be announced on 6 April, which if agreed will come into force on the 9 April, but already some banks are taking steps to helps their customers during this financial crisis.

Here we take a look at what each of the main banks is doing to help their customers impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Barclays

Visiting branches

Barclays has advised its customers to not visit branches unless it is essential as some of its branches have been closed and many others are operating at reduced hours. The bank is instead encouraging customers to use online and telephone banking, however it has warned customers that there may be a longer wait than normal when using telephone banking.

Accessing savings

Barclays has stated that it may allow customers who have been impacted by Covid-19 and who have money in fixed savings accounts to access their savings through earlier access or waiving charges. It has advised customers to contact them directly for further information.

Mortgage repayments

Those who are eligible for a mortgage payment holiday of up to three months will need to apply using Barclay’s online form.

Overdraft borrowing

Barclays is waiving interest on all authorised overdrafts from 27 March to 30 April 2020.

Loans and credit card payments

Those with a Barclaycard credit card will not be charged a late payment or cash advance fees for three months. In addition to this, Barclays has stated that customers may be able to increase their credit limit to help in an emergency.

Halifax

Visiting branches

Halifax has stated that the easiest way to access its services at the moment is through online banking or its banking app. Although the bank is aiming to keep as many of its branches open as possible, it has temporarily had to close a number of branches, and a full list of which branches have been closed can be found here. Of the branches that have remained open, all will be opened between the hours of 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday. Branches will not be open at the weekend and mobile branch services are not available.

Accessing savings

For savers who need emergency access to money deposited in fixed rate savings accounts, they will be able to access their savings without penalty. Halifax has urged these customers to call the bank directly to arrange for the money to be transferred.

Mortgage repayments

Mortgage customers unable to pay their mortgage due to the Coronavirus pandemic will be able to apply for a payment holiday for up to three months, which has to be applied for through its Mortgage repayment holiday form.

Overdraft borrowing

Halifax has stated that it is automatically offering interest-free rates on overdraft borrowing of up to £300, which ends on the 6 July 2020.

Loans and credit card borrowing

Halifax has revealed that it is working to put an online process in place that will enable its customers to ask for payment holidays on loans for up to three months.

HSBC

Visiting branches

Most HSBC branches are still open but are on reduced hours of 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday. No branches are open at the weekend. In addition to this, the bank has stated that services in its branches are limited and they will not be able to offer new products or set up appointments.

Accessing savings

Those with money in an HSBC fixed rate savings account will be allowed early access to their savings without closure charges.

Mortgage repayments

Mortgage borrowers unable to make repayments can apply for a mortgage payment holiday, which can be applied for by submitting an online form.

Overdraft borrowing

Customers with an HSBC Bank Account, Bank Account Pay Monthly, Current Account and Advanced Bank Account will not be charged interest on the first £300 of their overdraft borrowing until further notice. This temporary measure came into effect on 26 March 2020. From the 9 April, Bank Account and Advance Account customers will have a £500 interest-free buffer on overdraft borrowing.

Loans and credit card borrowing

HSBC is offering customers impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic the opportunity to defer their next three loan repayments. The bank has stated that it is currently looking into ways to help customers unable to make credit card repayments.

Lloyds Bank

Visiting branches

Although Lloyds Bank has aimed to keep as many branches open as possible, a number have been temporarily closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. A full list of temporarily closed branches can be found here. The branches that have remained open will only be open from 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday.

Accessing savings

Savers with a fixed term savings account will be able to access their money without charge. To access savings, customers need to call Lloyds Bank to arrange the money to be transferred.

Mortgage repayments

Lloyds is offering a mortgage payment holiday for up to three months for borrowers unable to make mortgage repayments due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Those looking to make an application need to apply using the bank’s Mortgage repayment holiday form.

Overdraft borrowing

Lloyds has automatically applied a £300 overdraft buffer to existing arranged overdrafts. The buffer is interest-free from 6 April to 6 June 2020.

Loans and credit card borrowing

A loans payment holiday is available for up to three months, which can be applied for using Lloyds Bank’s loans repayment holiday form. The bank has also stated that it is working on creating a process that will allow credit card customers to apply for a credit card payment holiday for three months.

Nationwide Building Society

Visiting branches

Nationwide Building Society has kept the majority of its branches open, but they will be offering reduced opening hours of 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday. No branches will be open at the weekend. Customers can find out if their local branch is open here.

Accessing savings

Customers with a fixed term bond with Nationwide Building Society are able to access their funds early without penalty.

Mortgage repayments

Those who cannot pay their mortgage due to being impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic can apply for a three-month mortgage payment holiday. Mortgage borrowers can find out more and apply for a payment holiday here.

Overdraft borrowing

Nationwide Building Society is enabling its customers to apply for an interest holiday on overdrafts. The interest holiday will start on 20 April 2020 or when the application has been processed, if this is later. It will end on 30 June 2020. The interest holiday on overdrafts can be applied for here.

Loans and credit card borrowing

Nationwide Building Society is allowing customers to reduce their monthly loan repayments to £1 per month for three months under its loan payment holiday scheme, which can be applied for here. The building society is offering a similar scheme for credit card customers who can apply for a credit card payment holiday, which will result in them paying £1 per month for three months. The credit card payment holiday can be applied for here.

NatWest

Visiting branches

NatWest branches will be operating on core opening hours of 10am to 1pm. Local branch opening times can be found using the bank’s branch locator.

Accessing savings

Savers with a NatWest fixed savings account can close their account early without being charged an early closure penalty. To close a fixed term savings accounts, customers should call 03457 888 444.

Mortgage repayments

Those with a NatWest mortgage can apply for a mortgage payment of up to three months. More information and how to apply for a payment holiday can be found here.

Overdraft borrowing

NatWest is keeping overdraft interest rates at their March rates and overdraft borrowers will not pay any fees or charges.

Loans and credit card borrowing

Customers with a NatWest loan can apply to have their loan payments deferred for up to three months. Applications can be made through the NatWest mobile app by tapping on ‘Help’ at the bottom of the screen, followed by ‘Message us’ and quote ‘coronavirus loan’ in the message. NatWest is also offering refunds on request for NatWest credit card cash advance fees.

Royal Bank of Scotland

Visiting branches

Some RBS branches have been temporarily closed and the ones still operating are open from 10am to 1pm Monday to Friday. To find out which branches have been closed due to Coronavirus pandemic visit the bank’s branch locator.

Accessing savings

Savers needing to access money in an RBS fixed term savings account are allowed early closure of their account without having to pay an early closure charge. To close a fixed term savings account customers need to call 03457 24 24 24.

Mortgage repayments

RBS customers can apply for a mortgage payment holiday for up to three months. To find out more or to apply visit the RBS mortgage page.

Overdraft borrowing

RBS is keeping overdraft interest rates at their March rates and overdraft borrowers will not pay any fees or charges.

Loans and credit card borrowing

Borrowers with an RBS credit card will not be charged a late fee for any credit card payments due from 1 April until 30 June 2020. Those with a loan can apply for payment referrals of up to three months. Loan payment deferments need to be applied for through the RBS app, and applicants need to tap ‘Help’ at the bottom of the screen, followed by ‘Message us’ and quote ‘coronavirus loan’ in the message.

TSB

Visiting branches

Some TSB branches have remained open, operating on reduced opening times, and only providing essential services. The bank has urged customers to only visit a branch if it is absolutely necessary.

Accessing savings

Customers with a TSB fixed rate bond account can close their accounts to gain early access to their money, however the bank has not stated if there will be a penalty for doing this. Customers can also access savings in fixed rate cash ISAs and the early withdrawal charge will not be applied.

Mortgage repayments

TSB customers can apply for a mortgage repayment holiday for up to three months. Customers can find out if they are eligible and how to apply on its Mortgage Repayment Holidays page.

Overdraft borrowing

Apart from allowing customers to apply to increase their overdraft limit, TSB has not stated if it is offering customers any further help with overdraft borrowing.

Loans and credit card borrowing

Those with a TSB personal loan can apply for a repayment holiday, which can be requested here.

Disclaimer

Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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